News / Science & Technology

UN: Global Warming Harms Corals Vital to Small Islands

FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
FILE: A U.N. report says global warming threatens coral, such as this Gorgonian sea fan. Coral reefs buffer coastlines.
Reuters
Global warming is causing trillions of dollars of damage to coral reefs, aggravating the risks to tropical small island states as sea levels rise, according to a United Nations report released Thursday.
 
Sea levels off some western Pacific islands rose by four times the global average, with annual gains of 1.2 cms (0.5 inch) from 1993 to 2012, according to the U.N.’s Environment Program.
 
Release of the study, "Emerging Issues for Small Island Developmeng States, was timed to mark the U.N.'s World Environment Day on June 5. It came during U.N. climate change talks taking place June 4-15 in this western German city. 

Warming waters from the Indian Ocean to the Caribbean are damaging reefs by killing the tiny animals whose stony skeletons form them, the report said.
 
A toll on atolls

"These 52 nations, home to over 62 million people, emit less than 1 percent of global greenhouse gasses, yet they suffer disproportionately from the climate change that global emissions cause," said Achim Steiner, head of UNEP.
 
"Some islands could become uninhabitable and others are faced with the potential loss of their entire territories," the study said.

Loss of coral takes a costly economic toll, the report said. Coral reefs help protect coasts from storms, serve as nurseries for many types of fish and also attract tourists.

In Grenada, fishermen are reporting fewer and smaller "catches in areas where there once was a thriving trade," said Roland Bhola, the country's environment minister, who is participating in the talks.
 
"We have been able to associate that with the issues of climate change ... the destruction of our coral reefs and other ecosystems like mangroves,” he said.

Threatened ecosystems
 

A study last month estimated that each hectare (2.5 acres) of the world's coral reefs provided services worth $350,000 a year.
 
"Corals .. are probably the most threatened ecosystems on the planet," Robert Costanza, of the Australian National University and lead author of the study, told Reuters.
 
Some people on small islands are considering moving inland because rising sea levels are causing erosion and bringing more salt onto farmland, said Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist of UNEP.
 
"But many of them don't have places to retreat towards," she said.

Greenhouse gases blamed
 
The U.N. panel of climate scientists in March said it is at least 95 percent probable that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the main cause of a rise in average world temperatures.
 
"Addressing climate change ... is absolutely vital to the survival of small island states," Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, said at a news conference.
 
The report said small islands could shift to abundant solar and wind power to help cut fuel import bills, which are often between 5 and 20 percent of gross domestic product.
 
“We are doing what we can,” said Marshall Islands Environment Minister Tony de Brum, citing plans to invest in solar energy. His nation also has the world's largest shark sanctuary as part of efforts to protect nature, he added.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mayuyu from: Nagasaki AKB
June 07, 2014 7:12 PM
Sea leve rise 1.2cms for about 10 years, and it means 12cms for 100 years. Go away from the sea side right now ! Big 12cms TSUNAMI is coming for 100 years!

This article means that kind of things.

But, , , Do you know sea level is up and down around 100cms in one day because of tide rising?

by: Stanley from: PIttsburgh, PA
June 07, 2014 4:07 PM
Amazing. They must be pretty sure taking CO2 out of the atmosphere will fix it. Or the change is coming. IE the cool off cycle has already begun. Take a gander at ocean temperatures provide by the "unbiased" EPA data. Amazed me they actually posted it.

by: Joe from: Paris, France
June 06, 2014 6:08 PM
It's called "tectonic plate shifting." The UN deliberately ignores the second most powerful force on Earth after gravity because well, they cannot tax the Earth.

Most of these islands are actually sinking due to shifting plates (subduction), the plate basically folds under and is melted back into the Earth; rather than the sea level rising due to global warming. Just look on a plate map.

by: floyd howard jr from: Foley Al. USA
June 06, 2014 10:04 AM
Dems are trying to legislate a narrative change hurting the American people in the process! All Democrats and supporters here and abroad, are trying to flood the media with hysterical climate change & global warming alarms to take the heat off Dem candidates in the November 2014 and 2016 elections due to the train wreck of Obamacare! They shout, scream, cry, make outlandish claims and won't stop till after the elections! Poor Democrats! The tsunami cometh!

by: GuyBB from: KCMO
June 06, 2014 8:30 AM
Climate change is indeed a problem for small islands. Simply because the climate is always changing. However, the change to the name of AGW to climate change, is an incideous, and pernicious assault on truth. None of the coral reefs in existence today where alive 12,000 years ago, simply because during the Ice Age, they were hundreds of feet above sea level.

What they really mean when they say "climate change" is not the known fact, that climate is always changing, but rather the implication that it is in fact climate changed by man. Worse? These idiots have no schedule for their fearmongering, because every time they have given a timetable, they've been WRONG!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More